Two thugs who grabbed a motorist’s cell phone in the city centre last Friday were in for a surprise when bystanders rapidly responded and put their own safety at risk in an effort to apprehend the suspects.
Incidents of criminals targeting motorists who use their cell phones while driving with open windows have become a worrying factor in the central business district of Polokwane over a period of time.
Camera footage provided to Polokwane Observer shows a motorist stopping at a red traffic light on the corner of Grobler and Schoeman streets while apparently talking on his cell phone and with his window rolled down.
One of the suspects moves behind the vehicle to the passenger side to distract the driver while the second one approaches the driver’s side of the vehicle, grabs the motorist’s cell phone and make a run for it.
The footage further illustrates how bystanders speedily mobilise in an effort to apprehend the suspects. One motorist is shown stopping his vehicle in the middle of the road to assist in detaining the suspects.
The end of the footage does not clearly show what happened to the suspects and Provincial Police Spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe could also not confirm whether the suspects were brought to the Polokwane Police Station and charged.
Information received indicated that similar incidents happening in and around the city centre are reported on a weekly basis. Besides Grobler and Schoeman streets others streets Thabo Mbeki, Biccard and Rissik were also flagged as hotspots for incidents of a similar kind.
It was learnt from a source that thugs targeting motorists talking on their cell phones use several modus operandi.
They normally work together with one approaching and distracting the driver from the passenger side while the second thug would then launch the attack by grabbing the cell phone.
It has also been reported that thugs would indicate to a driver that he has a flat wheel on the passenger side and when the victim gets out of the vehicle or tries to investigate they go over to action.
Story: RC Myburgh